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Susan Jablon: Articles and How-To's

Cutting Glass Tile

Cutting glass mosaic tiles can be an intimidating first step for novice tilers, but here's some advice and tips. Practice will make you infinitely more comfortable with the task, so make sure you have a few extra tiles to work with before beginning work on the final product. The key to making precise, accurate cuts is knowing which tools to use. Because they can be fragile, it is crucial to use glass-specific cutters when cutting glass tiles. Most tile nippers, designed for ceramics and porcelain, will chip and splinter glass.

A Wheeled Nipper is the best tool for cutting 3/4” tiles, while a Scorer-Breaker can be used for both straight lines and less uniform shapes. Remember to keep tools sharp and clean. The round blade of a wheeled nipper can be easily replaced.

How to use a Scorer-Breaker:

  • Always cut glass on a flat surface.
  • Always use a metal ruler to guide your cut. Holding the scoring blade at the edge of the glass tile, apply firm, even pressure as you slide the tool across its width. Pressing too hard will splinter the tile; too lightly may make the tile difficult to break. Practice on scrap tiles to ensure a clean cut on the final tiles.
  • Place the tile between the pliers with the scored line over the raised breaking line of the tool. Squeeze firmly on the handles (this action presses the tile against the breaking bar) until the tile snaps along the score line. Keep your hands at the back of the tool while squeezing.

Remember: Scored edge will be sharp. Handle glass tile with care and ALWAYS wear safety gear.

Tips for cutting glass tile:

Learn from common mistakes instead of making them yourself. Here’s a list of tips that we’ve collected from years of experience cutting glass mosaic tiles.

Wheeled Nippers and Scorer-Breakers are the best tools to use with glass tile. Side cutters and chipper nippers, made specifically for use with ceramics and porcelain, will crack or chip glass tiles.

Keep tools sharp and oiled for best results.

If you’re having problems making accurate cuts, take pressure off of the tool.

Gently squeeze the back of the handle when applying the breaking pressure.

Safety first! Remember not to grab and hold glass by its edge.

The entire piece of glass should remain on a flat surface while cutting. Allowing part of the tile to hang off the edge may cause the glass to break in the wrong place.